Describe Conditions That Need Repair Or Correction In Written Detail

It's best to prepare a written list of complaints, with a specific description of each problem or condition for the Court and your attorney. That way nothing important will be missing from your court papers. Also, take color pictures or video of any defective conditions, to provide further proof of your claims. Take several photos, from various angles. Include the cover of that day's newspaper in the photo or video to establish the date.

Always notify your landlord when there's a defective condition to correct. It's best to do it in writing, but at least keep a written record of any verbal requests you make. Include the date and time, and the person you spoke to. If the repair or correction isn't made, you may be entitled to an "abatement," which is a reduction in rent.

The three elements that make an abatement possible are: a) there's a problem with conditions in your apartment or the building; b) your landlord has notice of it; c) your landlord then fails to correct it in a reasonable amount of time. The law states that you should not have to pay the full rent if you don't receive full use of the premises in good condition.

In one particularly outrageous abatement case, a landlord removed the joists under the floors in the client's apartment, and replaced them with defective brackets. The floors began to sag, and cracks developed that were literally large enough for the client to see through to the apartment below, creating a very unsafe condition. McAdams Law sued and forced the landlord to give a substantial abatement, to pay the attorney's fees, and to move the tenants to a safe building while they repaired the floors. Carefully documenting the worsening conditions and resulting dangers was essential to the successful outcome achieved.